Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UCLA Previously Published Works bannerUCLA

The CryoEM Method MicroED as a Powerful Tool for Small Molecule Structure Determination


In the many scientific endeavors that are driven by organic chemistry, unambiguous identification of small molecules is of paramount importance. Over the past 50 years, NMR and other powerful spectroscopic techniques have been developed to address this challenge. While almost all of these techniques rely on inference of connectivity, the unambiguous determination of a small molecule's structure requires X-ray and/or neutron diffraction studies. In practice, however, X-ray crystallography is rarely applied in routine organic chemistry due to intrinsic limitations of both the analytes and the technique. Here we report the use of the electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) method microcrystal electron diffraction (MicroED) to provide routine and unambiguous structural determination of small organic molecules. From simple powders, with minimal sample preparation, we could collect high-quality MicroED data from nanocrystals (∼100 nm, ∼10-15 g) resulting in atomic resolution (<1 Å) crystal structures in minutes.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View